‘Highly-respected’ Lavenham pub landlord’s ‘moment of madness’ gets suspended jail sentence

Crown Court, Ipswich Picture: ARCHANT

Crown Court, Ipswich Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

A licensee who stormed into his Suffolk pub brandishing a baton acted in a “moment of madness” because he thought a customer had been “trying it on” with his wife, a court has heard.

John Raines, who was the licensee of the Angel pub and hotel in Market Place, Lavenham, lost his temper after “misinterpreting” what was going on in the pub on CCTV, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Sentencing 52-year-old Raines to a nine month prison sentence suspended for 12 months, Judge Rupert Overbury said ordinarily he would have had no hesitation in passing an immediate prison sentence.

However, after reading a number of references he accepted that Raines was a highly respected member of the local community and that his behaviour on the night in question was totally out of character.

“I dare say that 99.9% of the time that is absolutely right and that in a moment of complete madness you behaved in a quite appalling way towards members of the public in your premises,” said the judge.

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He accepted that Raines’ perception had been “marred and clouded” by financial worries.

Raines was also ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work and to pay £750 prosecution costs and £250 compensation to two customers who were injured in the incident in January.

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Raines, of Langham Road, Boxted, admitted affray and possessing a baton and a Taser.

Michael Crimp, prosecuting, said Raines had called the pub shortly after midnight and told a barman that everyone had to leave the premises “especially the one with the tattoos”.

No-one left and shortly afterwards Raines stormed into the pub looking angry and had “flicked” an expandable baton which struck a customer on the hand.

He then flicked the baton at another customer shattering the pint glass he was holding and causing a cut to his neck from flying glass.

During the incident Raines was also seen with a Taser, said Mr Crimp.

Raines told police he’d been watching CCTV and had seen a customer “trying it on” with his wife but Mr Crimp said this was denied by the customer.

He said Raines was still the licensee of the pub but the day to day running was being done by someone else.

Matthew Gowan, for Raines, said his client had been stressed about financial matters and deeply regretted the incident.

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